Developing Systems to detect and remove Pathogens
that cause Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
MONTREAL, CANADA, and WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, July 3, 2001 – ProMetic Life Sciences (TSE: PLI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Red Cross (ARC) to form a new company. In accordance with the MOU, the final agreements are scheduled to be completed by September 30, 2001. Once established, the new venture is expected to utilize ProMetic’s platform technology and the ARC’s expertise in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) research and pathogen clearance in blood products.
TSEs including the human form variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) are believed to be prion diseases. Prions are normal protein molecules that exist in many cells of the body but become infectious when folded into abnormal shapes. They clump together and form plaques in the brain leaving sponge-like holes; leading to a fatal degenerative central nervous system disorder. Currently, there is no treatment for this disease or a sensitive method for its detection.
Under the terms of the MOU ProMetic and the ARC will contribute intellectual property and other know-how to develop diagnostic and removal systems to control the possible transmission of TSEs from human blood and blood products. The scope of the agreement between the American Red Cross and ProMetic also includes the removal of viruses.
“This agreement supports our activities to further mitigate risk through stringent donor deferral policies, adopting additional testing methodologies and conducting research activities to enhance other pathogen removal techniques”, said Chris Lamb, Vice President and COO, American Red Cross, Plasma Services.
About ProMetic Life Sciences
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSE: PLI) is an international bio-pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, and additional facilities in the UK. ProMetic is engaged in research, development, manufacture and marketing of a variety of commercial applications from its proprietary platform technologies, which are used in therapeutics, large-scale drug purification, chemical genomics and proteomics, drug delivery and drug development.
About American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides almost half of the nation’s blood supply (collecting more than 6 million units a year from volunteer donors) to 3,000 hospitals through its national network of 36 Blood Services regions. To donate blood, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.redcross.org for more information. Bernadine Healy, M.D., is president and CEO of the American Red Cross
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to the Company’s ability to develop, manufacture, and successfully commercialize value-added pharmaceutical products and to obtain contracts for its products and services and commercial acceptance of advanced affinity separation technology. Shareholders are cautioned that these statements are predictions and these actual events or results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
Contacts: ProMetic Worldwide